The sleeve is a fast-cycling consumer good. This means the sleeve will last less longer than the hockey stick, and will be sold more often. To get a sleeve, first a hockey stick is needed. An online configurator will give the opportunity to customise your own design. This could be a name on the stick, of favourite colours. Also some standard models are available at the store.
The store will be a central point in this model. When someone has ordered the sleeve online, it can be retrieved in the store. The store worker will be able to attach the sleeve to the stick, this can also be done by the people themselves, but needs some concentration. After the sleeve is attached it can be used, this will be until the sleeve is damaged of wearage too much. Once a new sleeve is wanted, it can be again ordered online via the configurator or a standard model can be bought in the store. This loop can be continued every time a new sleeve is wanted.
The product will be introduced to junior hockey players on big yearly activities. This will for example be the first match of the season, or on the end of the season on tournaments. On these activities sleeves can be sold, and also attached, but also advertisement will be done for later purchase.
When a person wants to lease a stick, the first decision will be what class the person wants. The classes stand for a gradation list on the status of the hockey stick. A hockey stick that will take part in the leasing system will be bought new. The stick starts in the gold circle. When it is damaged too much, it will continue in the silver circle. This continues until the hockey stick is on the end of its technical life. Twice a year a service van will come buy to change the sticks stock, help with any maintenance or problems. Market introduction will start at the hockey clubs, and with mouth to mouth commercials at the hockey club.
Kids grow in their youth. This is a big reason why kids need a few new hockey sticks during their playing time as a kid. On average three to four new sticks are bought when kids overgrew their old ones. This over a span of six years. Nowadays all these sticks are bought for the kids, and when they are not necessary anymore they often end up near the cloak hanger. These sticks are often still in a good state to play with.
With a leasing model, no sticks will be owned by the people themselves. The club will own all the hockey sticks, and players can ‘lease’ them for a certain period. Providers of the leasing system in this case are the club representatives. Contracts are drafted per season, and can be extend after each season. Other options after the contract are ending the leasing or buying of the used stick. In the contract will be written about improper usage of the stick. Damage by improper usage will give a penalty. The leasing service will cost €13,95 for gold, €9,95 for silver or €7,95 for bronze, according to what class people want to buy. The profit margin for the club is on average €3,- per leasing contract. The amount of money payed each season after six years will be less then buying all sticks new. Each class stands for the degradation of the product.
Gold: new sticks
Silver: paint damaged and small scratches, grip is not damaged
Bronze: hook is damaged and worn off to a maximum of 3 mm lost of material
Benefits of the leasing model are that no unnecessary sticks will stay at the cloak hanger, kids can get a new stick with a different length when they overgrew their old stick and a full service can be provided for hassle free use of the hockey sticks.
In the first weeks of the project circular design strategies were discussed. These strategies are also incorporated in the final concepts. With the leasing system no new design for the stick is made and therefore I found it difficult to relate strategies back to the leasing service. The sticks do get back to one place, and have the chance to be repaired whenever small damage is found. The strategy ease of maintenance & repair is in line with this.
Time to market can be really fast, as no new products has to be produced. The big investment to start leasing hockey sticks for clubs is getting a good amount of hockey sticks at the club to lease. Marketing could help get extra used sticks when starting. For example, people who give their old sticks to the club when they start leasing could get discount on their leasing contract. This could also lead more people to leasing hockey sticks. Competitors in this case are the stick fabricants. Because the hockey sticks get reused more often, less hockey sticks will be sold in general. Cannibalisation of sticks will take place.
The leasing service helps in a circular economy as sticks get reused to their full technical life. Also will the sticks end up at one central point. If there will be a possibility to recycle the hockey sticks, they can easily be collected.
The main reason why kids want new hockey sticks is not because they sticks are too damaged to play with or because the stick got too small. They want new sticks because they like new colours, and new patterns. Having the ability for kids to change the looks of their hockey stick quicker, without having to change the complete stick could help in getting attached to the stick. The possibility to change a product is also in line with the circular design strategy design for adaptability and upgradability. The stick will not get damaged any longer on the stick itself, but first on the sleeve. This will ease the maintenance of the stick.
As mentioned earlier, the sleeve has two main advantages. Not only are the kids able to quickly get new looks on their stick, the stick also gets extra protection against wearage.
The business model that will be used with the sleeve is a hybrid business model. The hockey stick is not involved in this model. That will be a product that still needs to be bought, but will not wear off quickly anymore, so no new rebuy is necessary. The hope is that the sleeve will protect the hockey stick completely, so no new stick is needed to buy at all if the size stays right. Normally in a hybrid business model will the durable product be made cheaper, but as the hockey stick is not sold from the same company as the sleeve, this will not count for this version of the business model.
The sleeves will be the fast-cycling consumer good. That will last until it got too damaged due to wearage, or if the kid wants a new colour. The price of the sleeve is estimated around €12,95. This price is based on costs, store margin, packaging, investments, what people might be willing to pay for it and prices of junior hockey sticks. Investments that have to be made to start producing this product are the sleeve material, hook shaper to get the material around the curve and if necessary a printer. The time to market of this product could be relatively low, as there already could get started with standard models, and customisation can come later.
Customisation gives multiple opportunities. The sticks could be customised for kids on trends and fun. Teams and clubs could make their ‘team-stick’ or companies could sponsor sticks. Other functional opportunities could be by putting a kid their name on the stick, so when the stick gets lost it can be returned to the owner.
The wraps could be made of a material that is similar to Krimpkous. Krimpkous is a material made from PVC with a mixture of polyesters that will shrink if you heat it. When reheated PVC is not the best material to use, therefore for this product will be looked at a material that has the same characteristics as krimpkous but is better for the environment.
Due to the sleeve, the hockey stick can be used for a longer technical and usage life. The stick will not get damaged, only the sacrifice material of the sleeve will. This material will be collected at the store, as people will come back to the store to remove their old sleeve and get a new one.
The third concept is extend. I will not work out this concept completely. But did do some thinking to make the concept understandable.
Extend is based on the fact that kids grow and need a new hockey stick too often. If it would not be for the sticks being too small, the kids wouldn’t need a new stick. So when the kids are growing, why not let the stick grow as well?
The hockey stick normally consists of three components. The stick, the grip and a cap. For extend the stick gets split into two parts. As can be seen in the picture below. These parts are connected to each other with a screwing system on the inside. This system lets users have the ability to lengthen their sticks whenever necessary. This lengthening is easy to do for the users themselves, only thing is that they need to remove and redo their grip for it, because the system is underneath. Therefore the stick will only be adjusted when it is really necessary.
The upper part, a standard components will not wear off and can be used during a whole field hockey carrier. More attachment can therefore be put in the upper part. This could be done with special material or personalisation.
The lower part is a convertible component. What functions the convertible component will full fill depends on the length and the needs of a kid. Options are a smaller stick, bigger stick or sensoring in the stick.
As said earlier, can the standard component cause attachment. This is one of the circular design strategies as described in the book Products that Last. When people get attached to their product they tend to keep and use it for a longer period. Also other circular design strategies are taken into account with this concept. One component is a standard model, that could be used in combination with all other components. The product is made to last, as it can grow with the kid, no new hockey sticks are needed every year. Durability will therefore increase. Also strategy design for dis- and reassembly improves. If a convertible component is not usable anymore, can the standard component still be used. Not a complete stick then has to be re-purchased but only a lower part.
This concept was primarily based on the classic long-life business model. The basis was to make a hockey stick were kids can play with for their entire kid-carrier as hockey player. During later analyses more knowledge was gained about how kids think about their sticks and what they think is important. Multiple convertible components for the lower part came out of it.
With these standard and convertible components a hybrid business model fits better with the concept. One part of the product will lasts much longer, and could be sold for a cheaper price. The other part, the convertible part is the part that will get damage due to wear age and needs to be replaced more often. The replaceable part can be more expensive than the standard component, it will be needed more often and therefore gets sold more often. This is where profit can be made.
So in what way is this product circular? Not all the materials will be thrown away too quick, the standard component lasts far longer and will save in material lost. Also will the amount of sticks needed in general be reduced, because the stick can grow together with the kid. Extra options are available to make users get more attached to the stick, like adding sensors in the convertible part, that can track for example speed and running patterns.